The Other Shore
By John Fraser
The Other Shore focuses on a critical point in Soviet history. It deals with young Soviet intellectuals, bright but not brilliant, confronting a future threatened with war and stagnation, but still with the impetus of post-Stalinist regeneration.
Rather than being a chronicle of the debates between neo-Bolsheviks, Leninists, social and liberal democrats, Trotskyists, Westernisers and traditionalists, it depicts a more modest but more frequently encountered search for commitment, for a meaningful political and social life, in a vast country where light and darkness flicker and alternate unpredictably.
In hindsight, theirs may seem the twittering of cage birds, the self-delusion that came to terrible ruin twenty years later. The characters are aware that war or stagnation are ever-present shadows in their paths, but they press on, aware that their guides are shadowy and faltering, long-dead.
It is the less grandiose, the less informed, struggles of the young Soviet citizens that seem more gripping and more hopeful. Although The Other Shore may be categorised as political fantasy, the real fantasy lies in the collapse of the aspirations which drove all the protagonists at the time. These aspirations seemed realistically held, and not unreasonably attainable. But the world they prefigured has, in the event, made them appear just wishful thinking.
‘In Fraser's fiction the reader rides as on a switchback or luge of impetuous attention, with affects flashing by at virtuoso speeds. The characters seem to be unwitting agents of chaos, however much wise reflection Fraser bestows upon them; they move with shrugging self-assurance through circumstances as richly detailed and as without reliable compass-points as a Chinese scroll.’ - John Fuller
Published 1971, 2010 (Aesop Publ.)
ISBN: 9781494891497 - 220 pages - Paperback
World Rights Available